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10 Years Ago This Month – October 2000

Leaf Peeping

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2000
Time: 8:00 AM
Place: Billy’s Super Store in Trenton, SC
Members Attending: Brian Bogardus, Donna Bogardus, Lee Davis and Rudy Wilmoth.
Members Almost Not Attending: Karen Breitinger and Kurt Breitinger.
Members Attending Partway: Cindy Timmerman and Stacey Timmerman.

Brian and Donna were the first to arrive. They were topping off the tank when Rudy pulled in. The Super Store is an interesting place, there is this huge sign that says, NO SMOKING, that spans both entrance doors, but when you walk in, the woman behind the counter is exhaling from her last drag and the little old lady pushing around the cleaning cart has a half smoked butt hanging out of the corner of her mouth with the other half still hanging on ash. As I pull out the charge card to pay for the $6 worth of gas, the counter woman shakes her head while taking another puff and points to the sign on the wall that says, “Minimum charge card purchase $20.” The first thing that came to my mind to say was, “Oh, I thought that was to be ignored just like the No Smoking sign.” Guessing that she wouldn’t see the humor in that, I just took out some cash and paid.

For a while it looked like it would be just the 2 cars on the trip, until two red cars arrived from the same direction nearly simultaneously. Lee Davis with repaired car and foot, came out to join us. Lee said he had all but talked his wife into joining us until he mentioned the 5:00 am wake up call required. The other red car was filled with Timmermans. Stacey mentioned that he had spoken to Kurt and that he said that he and Karen were planning on coming with us. We waited until around 8:20 and when the Breitingers didn’t show, we headed north.

Within 1/4 mile, here comes a Miata in the opposite direction, you guessed it, Kurt and Karen. They got a slightly late start and thought they might catch us if they came that way. And they did.

First stop was in Greenwood where the Brietingers got gas and everyone who didn’t already, put their tops down. The trip between Greenwood and Anderson was mostly 2 lane back roads and if we didn’t feel like going all the way up north, we could have gone home after this segment, as the leaves were through here were already beautifully colored.

At Anderson, Stacey lead us to the Cracker Barrel as he and Cindy know the area like the back of their hands. Good thing too, as the map Brian had was not exactly correct. The reason they are intimately familiar with the Anderson area is they are on child number 2 attending Clemson University. As a matter of fact, their trunk was filled to the brim with foodstuffs, both hot and cold, to transfer to their son. After he met us at the Cracker Barrel for brunch they were going over with him to the University for a visit.

The remaining four of us headed up 28 to Highlands for the actual leaf peeping portion of the trip. Our timing was perfect, the leaves were in their final glory. The down side to this was that there were also a bunch of Other Than Miatas (OTMs) on the road gawking too and who rudely drove slug-like through the twisty roads.

At Highlands the plan was to go east to Cashiers and then come back down through the mountains on a different road. When Karen realized she had lost a bracelet, perhaps at the Cracker Barrel, we just turned around and went back the way we came. The leaves were just as pretty going this way and unfortunately the OTMs were just as slow.

Back at the Cracker Barrel in Anderson the bracelet was not to be found. Hopefully Kurt will find it next time the car gets vacuumed.

After passing through the little burg of Calhoun Falls Rudy radioed up and asked what everyone’s gas situation was, he was below the little tick mark that possibly represents 1/4 tank. Brian was above it but said that they would stop in the next town, McCormick, about 25 miles down the road. Finding gas in McCormick was harder than it should have been at 6:00 PM on a Saturday. The first place we tried had plastic bags over the hose handles and the next two were closed. We finally found a place that was open, and as you can guess it was a busy little spot.

A little farther down the road we split up as Rudy and Lee stayed on 28 to head on home, while Brian, Donna, Kurt and Karen crossed the Clarks Hill Dam and headed into Augusta to get some dinner.

When Donna & I got home 14-1/2 hours after we left, we had covered 380 miles, averaging out to 26 MPH for the trip.

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